Friday, November 20, 2015
The Melting Pot: A look at the evolution of food in Southwestern Pa. SPECIAL COLUMN – THANKSGIVING CUSTOMS
The offering of thanks at harvest time is not unique to
America. Such observances are known to have been held by
the ancient Egyptians and Greeks.
Thanksgiving in German Europe has a long tradition, but it is different from ours. The German, Austrian or Swiss Thanksgiving is usually a rural harvest time observance with church services, a parade, music, and a country fair atmosphere. Typical Germanic dishes include Rouladen (beef rolls with gravy), Goulash (beef stew with vegetables), Geschnetzeltes (liver in a wine cream sauce), Leber und Zwiebeln (Liver and onions), Konisberger Klopse (meatballs with hollandaise sauce), sauerbraten (marinated cooked beef), Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, spatlze (noodles) and apfel strudel (apple pastry).
Italians living in Italy do not celebrate Thanksgiving as in Pennsylvania but the Italians that have emigrated to PA have embraced Thanksgiving. Italians love any holiday that brings together friends, family and food. Every Italian family has their own unique traditions. They may serve a Spinach and Prosciutto Stuffed Turkey Breast or a whole roasted turkey. The meal may also include antipasto: Foglie di Salvia Fritte (fried sage leaves), Ricotta Funghi Ripieni (ricotta stuffed mushrooms, D'oliva Aromatizzato al Forno (baked seasoned olives) and Italian meats sausages. A soup course could be Zuppa Alla Zucca con Pancetta (butternut squash soup with pancetta) accompanied by a side dish such as Polenta con Funghi (polenta with wild mushrooms). Of course, Dolci (desserts) such as: Panna Cotta with Expresso Cream, Tiramisu, Crostata (pie) and Torta di castagne al cioccolato (chocolate chestnut cake) are the highlight of the meal!
Święto Dziękczynienia (Thanksgiving Day) is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. While certainly not a traditional Polish-rooted holiday, it has been eagerly observed by Polonians and Americans of other ethnic backgrounds as far back as anyone can remember. There is something very universal and appealing in the notion of gathering with one’s nearest of kin, thanking God for our numerous blessings and sharing a festive holiday meal. In some ways, that “big Thanksgiving dinner” is closer in spirit to the Polish Wigilia than any other American gathering. The menu is structured: Indyczka (roast turkey), Słodkie Ziemniaki (sweet potatoes), Sos Zuawinowo (cranberry-currant sauce), Dynię Pie (pumpkin pie), etc. In addition to the turkey, some Polish-American families serve Bigos (meat and cabbage stew), Kiełbasa, Pierogi, Gołąbki (cabbage rolls) and other favorites. Besides the pumpkin pie, Szarlotka (apple cake), Babka (sweet yeast cake), Placek (sweet yeast-raised cake with a crumb topping) or Sernik (cheesecake) may also turn up on the holiday table.
Every autumn, the ancient Greeks enjoyed a three-day festival to honor Demeter, the goddess of corn and grains and they still do. A Greek-inspired Thanksgiving menu might include the following: Kolokythosoupa Me Meli, Moscocarido kai Strangisto Yiaourti (acorn and butternut squash soup with honey, nutmeg and yogurt), Psiti Galopoula Gemisti me Kima, Stafides, Koukounari kai Kastana, Glasarismeno me Rodi, Ouzo, kai Portokali (roasted turkey breast stuffed with classic Greek chestnut-pine-nut-raisin-ground meat, glazed with pomegranate, ouzo, and orange), Glykopatates sto tigani, opos tis kanoun stin Kerkira, me meli (Corfu style fried sweet potatoes drizzled with Greek honey) and ”Mouzo” (chocolate mousse spiked with ouzo).
Christine Willard, a native of western Pennsylvania, researches and blogs about the food unique to Western Pennsylvania. She currently resides in North Carolina.
Germany Austria Switzerland
AROUND THE WORLD
GERMANY, AUSTRIA AND SWITZERLAND
(I have combined the three countries recipe links under Germany)
VIDEO OF RECIPE ABOVE
ITALIAN FOOD FOREVER
EAST EUROPEAN FOOD
FOOD NETWORK ON POLISH RECIPES
ABOUT THANKSGIVING IN GREECE
12 THANKSGIVING RECIPES
ALL RECIPES TURKEY RECIPE